One of the most famous works of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov in humorous form shows the depth of ignorance and the strength of prejudices of people who have power and position in society. An important person, a retired official and general, Alexei Buldeev, turns out to be no less superstitious and far from a rational solution of the problem in personal family life than an illiterate peasant.
Initially, the name of the sorcerer – the master on the talk of toothache was not a horse, but a “bird’s” one. This was told in her memoirs by a friend of Chekhov, EK Sakharova. In the draft version of the story Verbitsky’s surname was mentioned – with the explanation that “birds sit on willows”.
Then the author changed it to the name Ovsov. The clerk Ivan Evseich, the hero of the work, calls it “horse”, indicating the connection of the name with the horses. Perhaps this idea was prompted by the author’s famous Taganrog anecdote about two residents of this city with the names Zherebtsov and Kobylin. Taganrog is the hometown of the writer Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.
The connection of the name of the medicine man with horses has as little sense as the treatment of teeth with conspiracies. This underlines the general impression of the superstition and stupidity of the noble family of Buldeev, described in the story.
Start of the story
The narrative begins with the usual situation – a middle-aged
None of these methods help a poor sufferer, but he refuses to repeatedly visit a doctor. And here the “efficient” assistance is offered by the clerk Ivan Evseich, who is ready to serve the owner. Deeply convinced of the truth of his words, he convinces the general that he will certainly help the witch doctor, Yakov Vasilich. The retired official, according to the clerk, knows how to talk toothache with rare art, despite the fact that he drinks heavily, and lives not with his wife, but with a German woman, and is fired from the service. He lives in Saratov, and in order to get help, he needs to send a dispatch.
The general at first calls such a treatment quackery. But after some thought, he still chooses a rather intricate way: to send a telegram to a retired excise, to ask him for help, to wait for relief, and then send money for the removal of toothache by mail. And in the husband’s persuasion to ask for help from an unknown healer, the wife takes an active part. She convinces him that conspiracies are effective and simply necessary. After all, she herself many times felt the benefit of such a medical service.
Only here is the trouble: the address of the retired is available, and the name of the wizard is known, and the patronymic, but the name completely fell out of the memory of the helpful clerk. He remembers only that she is connected in some way with the horses. And begins in the general’s house a general campaign to guess the horse’s surname.
The unfolding of the plot of “Horse name” Chekhov
The name of the healer-savior is trying to guess everything home: children, workers, servants, a sympathetic wife. All cases are abandoned, the whole society in the general’s estate is occupied only by one – guessing the coveted name. Every now and then there are different variants that are related to the breeds, and to the ages, and to the harness of the horses. There are various assumptions: Kobylin, Zherebtsov, Loshadkin, Tabunov, Kopytin. However, the clerk resolutely rejects each of them.
It comes to the fact that the exhausted general promises a generous cash prize to a man who will name the right name. The steward is the most zealous. He does not forget about it day or night. He would have helped an important person without money, but with a premium he wants to remember the name even more.
Even at night, the forgotten name does not give anyone peace. Buldeyev wakes the clerk knocking at his window and offers him a new option. He admits that this name is now more precious to him than anything in the world. Perhaps, Evseevich mistook and she is not connected with horses? But the clerk again claims that she is “horse”, and does not recognize that the general offers.
But neither day nor night, a forgotten name does not come to mind. The general can no longer endure an endless toothache and causes a doctor. A doctor without unnecessary words and emotions removes a sick tooth, receives a payment for work and leaves home.
For the first time after much suffering, the general feels well. And then the conscientious clerk meets the doctor, who from his patient goes home. Inadvertently in conversation about the purchase of oats, the doctor reminds Ivan Evseich of the “horse” surname of the miracle healer: Ovs.
The clerk with glad tidings comes running to the chief. But instead of words of gratitude, he receives a cookie in return – the tooth is removed, and the services of a medicine man are no longer needed for the general.
Next, we will consider a brief biography of Chekhov, a Russian writer, a universally recognized classic of world literature, one of the most famous playwrights in the world.
In our next article, we will tell you about Chekhov’s early stories, in which he expresses his sympathy for the “little man”, hatred of hypocrisy, hypocrisy and sycophancy.
Superstition and nobility
A short story ridicules the superstition of noble families. Despite the fact that they are considered cream of society and occupy a high position, they have a very low level of education. They believe in the effectiveness of conspiracies and healers and do not turn to a competent specialist – a doctor. General Buldeev suffers from pain for several days. He is ready to recognize as his rescuer an unfamiliar, drinking, retired official from the service. He would rather entrust his own health to an unknown healer than to a skilful and knowledgeable doctor.
The doctor in this story is a real savior, the only intelligent and modern person. He helps both the general and the clerk. First, he relieves of painful sensations, and the second reminds in conversation the forgotten name.
The personality of the doctor in the story is almost not described. His role is actions: he came, prescribed medicine, pulled out a tooth, got money, left.
But it is the doctor who helps the general, his family and the clerk out of the difficult situation in which they have fallen due to the unwillingness to solve the problem with a simple and rational method. He is opposed to an unknown magician.
On the one hand, the doctor is a knowledgeable person, an action man, always ready to provide qualified help, on the other – a mythical character with magical abilities and a forgotten name. In its way, this is a conflict between science and superstition, between the old and the new, between reality and myth.
The story clearly describes the rudeness and rudeness of rich people. While the clerk promised to help in curing toothache, the general called him both a dandy and a brother. And when the services of Ivan Yevseich became unnecessary, he deserves of Buldeyev only rude words and a rude gesture.
The story of A. P. Chekhov “Horse name” was printed for the first time in 1885. Since then, it has been republished many times and is known not only in Russian, but also in many other languages of the world.
This small Chekhov story has long been a household name for our contemporaries. When we can not recall a particular surname, we invariably remember the syllable “horse surname”. As for superstition and faith and a miracle cure, we are not far from Chekhov’s heroes. The hope of a sick person for a miracle of healing will live forever, and healers will always be in high esteem.
Moreover, people are ready to pay money not only for health, but for the very hope for health. I know a grandmother who can not walk, so she heard about the miracle drug on the radio and bought it in debt. I was undernourished and gave the debt. She even guessed that he would not help her, but how I want to believe and hope that something will help you. There is even such a placebo effect. This is when a person believes that some drug will help him, then this hope gives him strength and he quickly recovers.
When I read Chekhov’s story “Horse name”, I could not help smiling. General Buldeev had a toothache. Than only they treated – nothing helped. And, finally, on the advice of the clerk, they decided to turn to the conspirator Yakov Vasilyevich. But they forgot the name. Sorted by the whole family different options, but to no avail. Although, frankly speaking, I am categorically against any conspiracies, close or distant, because I believe that this is a great sin before God. Well, a man can not heal by the power of God, if he is also a hunter to drink, and takes money for it. Here there is another, opposite force. It’s good that, in the end, I had to use the traditional method – to pull out a tooth. Still less of a sin. But it was funny when Ivan Evseich still remembered the name and flew into the office to the general with a cry: “
It’s amazing how Chekhov from the most stupid and inconspicuous life situations could make merry life stories, see in it a positive and humor.
With what pleasure I read Chekhov’s stories every time! Live speech, flashing humor, charm, a subtle understanding of Russian reality and no edification! The story “Horse name” is not an exception. Just think, because in such a small amount of work Chekhov manages to uncover our eternal Russian empathy for someone else’s trouble and at the same time brightly and juicyly reveal the whole range of feelings of a suffering person who is ready to do everything for the sake of getting rid of pain. But such monologues (although somewhat modified) can be fully heard in our time. That’s why we read Chekhov. After all, the present literary work will always be relevant, since it affects our feelings, our moral values, our emotions, our understanding of life.
It seems to me that Chekhov is one of those writers whose works do not become less relevant with time. He was so selected by the plot and characters that they always remain alive and real, no matter how much time passed.
Yes, indeed, Chekhov’s stories are real masterpieces! Short, informative, with a grain of wisdom. Even in the shortest of them, the hero sometimes lives all his life with its joys, difficulties, vices and sinful inclinations, which the writer exposes thinly and with humor! I want to read such works again and again!
It would seem that Chekhov managed to put out the most ordinary situation in a different light, this is the real mastery of the author – in the ordinary to see originality. Reading, involuntarily on mind “horse” associations in desire to help heroes to recollect that treasured surname come to mind. so that memory and imagination begin to work, if you want, you do not want. And in fact, as in past times we believed in the power of conspiracies, rituals, slander, this is shown by Chekhov. However, traditional medicine outweighs – the doctor pulls out the tooth directly and simply, despite the official’s rank and authority. Easy and fun story with humor.